HIDDEN GEMS: Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum
In our “HIDDEN GEMS” series, we’ll take a look at attractions, events, and areas in the 904 that don’t usually get much attention, but still provide a unique value to our city.
Just west of the southern portion of Klutho Park in Springfield sits the historic building that Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum calls home.
The museum is one of ten across the country that hosts the document and manuscript collection of David and Marsha Karpeles, owners of the world’s largest private manuscript collection.
The Karpeles began acquiring their vast collection of manuscripts after David, a math professor by trade, made a fortune in real estate investing. They opened their first museum in 1983 and expanded as their collection grew.
When they expanded into Jacksonville in 1992, they chose an old Christian Science church building designed by noted historical Jax architecture firm Marsh & Saxelbye. It was originally built in 1921.
Since opening, the museum has worked with several local schools and youth groups to bring their collections into classrooms, and has routinely featured a rotation of three to four exhibits each year.
Its current exhibit, “The Atomic Bomb”, showcases various documentations of how the Japanese press reported on the atomic bombs launched by the U.S. during World War II. It will run from December 28 to April 30.
In addition to their own collection, the Karpeles’ museum displays exhibitions from other collectors as well as various art shows and displays.
It’s far from the city’s largest museum, but for those fascinated by historic manuscripts and documents, it’s a hidden treat – and certainly worth an early-afternoon visit.
The museum, which is located at 101 W. 1st St., is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM, and is free to the public.